ALBUM REVIEW: Throw The Fight – Strangeworld
Finding the right balance of melody and raw power is no easy task. If you lean to heavily on your pop influences you can be cast aside and seen as too cheesy. By contrast, if you go the other way and rely too much on the heaviness in your sound, then you can get lumped in with all the other melodic hardcore bands and seen as chug-merchants. Fortunately Throw The Fight are a band that have had no such struggle. Since their inception two decades ago, the Minnesota natives have accrued fans all over the world with their infectious choruses and mosh-inducing riffs. Despite having their fair share of line-up changes over the past few years (including the departure of guitarist/vocalist James Clark, leaving bassist/vocalist Kade Kastellitz to front the band full-time going forward), Throw The Fight appear to be firing on all cylinders as they line-up their fourth full-length album Strangeworld.
From the moment the opening riff of Cover Your Tracks kicks in, the tone for the album is set. The low-tuned, groove-laden riffs intertwine with the catchy vocal hooks and the well-crafted lead guitar, to ensure that the record starts off in an upbeat manner. However, it is with the following song Obey that things really begin to pick up. As previously mentioned, it has always been a strength of Throw The Fight that they have the ability to bring a certain rawness to the delivery of their pop-infused rock music – this is displayed here perfectly with the use of harsh vocals, layering on top of the main melodies in the verse and throughout. The chorus once again is as impossibly catchy as one could hope to hear, and the breakdown section is likely to cause carnage whenever the band perform it live.
Unfortunately, the next track Lost Without You feels a little flat in comparison. There is no doubt that the song conveys plenty of emotion and has been written from the heart, however the squeaky-clean production and almost sterile way that the song is delivered makes for a rather bland two-and-a-half minutes. It doesn’t take long for the band to turn things around, with the groovy intro riff of Sorry, Not Sorry providing one of the highlights of the album. The chorus is amongst the best that the band have penned in their entire discography.
Hourglass is the sound of the band finding their flow perfectly and delivering some of their finest material to date. The watertight rhythm section of Kastelitz and drummer Jeff Baustert provides the perfect foundation for the vocals to build on, with the impressive lead guitar parts adding a greater sense of texture and depth to make sure everything ties together as it should.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing things about Stangeworld is its criminally short run time. The closing track Lost In The Lies is a testament to everything that the band does so well. A crushingly heavy guitar tone and punchy bassline hover of the top of the thumping drums, providing the cannon from which some of the most impossibly catchy vocal melodies are fired, burrowing themselves into the ear canal like some kind of carnivorous ear worm that refuses to leave you be. But, as previously mentioned, the good times feel as they are over too soon. The end of the album feels a little dialled in with the inclusion of two previously released songs, which have simply been remixed to close out proceedings, which is a real shame.
Throw The Fight are an immensely talented group of musicians who have penned some superb songs on Strangeworld. However, this album is far from perfect. The peaks are incredibly high, the troughs aren’t even that low. Yet, it is hard to avoid the feeling that this good album could have been great, and things just feel a little unfinished.
Standout Tracks: Obey, Hourglass
For Fans Of: A Day To Remember, I Prevail, Black Veil Brides
Written by: Richard Webb